Info ~ travel musings for the masses

Posts from the Links Category

I occasionally get asked why I fly so much or why I go to Europe for the weekend. Well, a few months back a documentary was made about my slight obsessive compulsive behavior when it comes to flying. It is a hobby, just like any other, except it goes around the world at 600 mile per hour. Flight has always been an interest of mine, but it was not until college and then traveling for work that I became interested in doing it for fun. There is just something about knowing that the furthest points of the Earth are only a flight away that fascinates me.

On the scale of how much I fly, I am a lightweight compared to some of the people in the movie (and know a few of them). Just like the video says, there is a whole community devoted to mileage running and travel. Watch and enjoy, maybe you’ll learn a little about my obsessive compulsive desire to travel.

EveryBlock, a site that focuses on local data, has expanded to include Houston in their database. They do not have our neighborhood, the Heights, populated yet, but over time I am sure it will show up.

It is a great site with a great team behind it and allows users to look at their local communities from a granular level. Users can see crime statistics, restaurants, businesses, food inspections, and tons of other useful information.

  • Bloggers, Beware: What You Write Can Get You Sued – More and more bloggers are coming under legal fire from different industries and companies. Sure, libel has no place on the internet, but as the line blurs between journalists and everyday citizens, where does the court go?
  • The Next iPhone – John Gruber makes a few informed predictions about the next iPhone. Time to start saving up for a new one.
  • Taco Trucks are Feeling the Crunch Across the U.S. – I do not necessarily think the people instituting the laws are racists, I just think they feel the trucks bring bad things into communities (loitering). We have a number of taco trucks near the market by our house and have never had a problem.
  • The High Cost of Poverty: Why the Poor Pay More – An interesting look at poverty and the headaches it causes. Some of the examples are a tad bunk in my opinion, like the guy losing his license and not being “recognized as a human” by his bank. Get a new license and put your money in the bank. The example of the convenience store is also a bad one, you’re paying for “convenience”, that’s the whole point.
  • 4-Alarm Blaze Strikes Gallery Furniture Warehouse – A Houston icon’s warehouse burned to the ground last night. I remember seeing Matress Mac’s commercials when I was a kid and going to the store with my parents. Hopefully the store is able to recover and stay on its feet.

Not a lot of links this week, but they’re interesting.

  • Captain’s Training Blamed in Crash of Flight 3407 – The pilot had never done any simulation training of the kind of icing he experienced the night of the crash. Worse than that is the fact that Colgan allowed him to fly after failing multiple check-rides.
  • Pelosi: C.I.A. Misled Congress Over Waterboarding – Pelosi strikes me as someone who only her immediate constituents can stand. She cannot get her story straight and when she tries, it sounds worse than the time before. Their plan of making people think that waterboarding is awful and not worth the lives it saved has somewhat failed, so they fall back on this scheme.
  • Maine Bill Targets Parking By RVs at Commercial Lots – Wow, what a surprise, a state government steps in to try and combat a “problem”. If they think that charging RV drivers to park in their state is going to help the economy, they need a basic course in economics. Wal-Mart had no problem with the RVs parking in their lots, but the RV campsites did, they claim they’re struggling, so the state comes to the rescue.

I will be at Wordcamp MidAtlantic in Baltimore this weekend. If you will be there, leave a comment or find me at the conference.

  • The dark side of Dubai – A fantastic look at the “true” Dubai and what most outsiders do not witness. From sewage problems to what amounts to slave labor, Johann Hari writes a compelling article on the Disneyland of the Desert.
  • Mileage Deals Spur Runs for Elite Status – I admit it, I am taking advantage of these deals. I am flying to Frankfurt, Germany the first week of May to earn 21,000 miles on Continental Airlines. There are a lot of benefits for me to have the status, so for $300, it is worth it.
  • Spokane to detonate squirrels tearing up parks – It sounds like a scene from Caddyshack.
  • Plane-side TSA searches aren’t worth the trouble – More proof that the Masterpiece Theater known as the TSA and airport security is a joke. They cannot test the liquids quickly, so they have limited the amount that you can bring on board, but now, without any evidence of a greater threat, they are searching passengers again before getting on the plane. The TSA says it cannot test liquids of vendors inside of the airport, making the plane-side searches necessary. Huh? So, they’re suggesting that terrorists have infiltrated my airport’s Starbucks and Au Bon Pain and are plotting to kill us? Maybe with calories.

Let me know what you think, leave a comment!

  • It Was 20 Years Ago Today: The Web – It has already been 20 years since Tim Berners-Lee authored his paper on Information Management for CERN and started the ball rolling developing what is now the internet.
  • Michelle Obama’s Message – Eat Fresh Food – I mentioned this idea in a post about grocery shopping and while it is not a new idea, I am glad that the First Lady is making it a publicly visible issue.
  • Skeptics Dispute Climate Worries and Each Other – Just because the climate change crowd appears to be on the same page does not make them right. It seems that dissension is only welcome when it is dissension that matches up with the beliefs of the other guy. Since the disagreements here are among the climate change skeptics, they must be wrong. Give me a break.
  • The President Lays Out His Education Ideas – He calls for merit pay, longer school years and hours, and getting kids into better schools. At the same time, his budget bill has all but completely killed the Washington Scholarship Fund. “The earmarks can stay, but what’s this scholarship thing for underprivileged kids? Get rid of that”
  • Naughty and Not So Nice: Celebrity Chefs in Firing Line (from Jessica) – Celebrity chefs are getting into hot water because their recipes contain high amounts of fat.
  • Google Voice is Launched – Google has launched Google Voice, their follow-up to GrandCentral. It allows you to use a single number for your land line, cell phone, and work and get voicemail online.
  • Geithner, With Few Aides, Is Scrambling – The Treasury Secretary and the aides as a whole are having trouble keeping up with all of the things they a promising and trying to deliver.

This week’s links are a real hodgepodge of different stories.

  • Marine F/A-18 Pilot Had Chance to Land Before Crash – A disturbing article on the F/A-18 that crashed near San Diego, California and killed four members of a family. The investigation has revealed that the pilot had a chance to land the aircraft before the crash but continued on to Miramar. There is no reason he should not have landed.
  • Hot Doug’s in Chicago, IL – I bookmarked this so I would remember to visit when we are there in April. The Duck Fat Fries sound amazing.
  • Why the Kiddie Food Movement has got to go – I think it is great that kids are involved in cooking and reviewing food but the author is spot on in noting that children do not have refined palettes. The appreciation of food flavors can take place when one is young but the body has not fully developed taste buds or the brain power to understand depth in food.
  • Let’s Get Real About Renewable Energy – Robert Bryce takes a closer look at hydrocarbons and energy consumption in the U.S. He comes to the conclusion that simply moving to renewable energy is not something that is attainable in the short term.
  • Burying Power Lines Proves Costly as Hurricane Protection – This has been a heavily debated topic in Houston and other Gulf Coast areas. I knew that burying power lines was expensive but I did not realize it was this expensive. To bury the lines in Houston, it would cost $28 billion. The damage caused to the grid in the last ten years by tropical weather has only been $1.8 billion. Sure, they should bury some lines that are necessary to keep large portions of the city with power, but overall, leave them overhead, I’ve dealt with no power for two weeks, I can do it again.

Not a large number of links this week. There were some political and budgetary things I was going to share, but I figure everyone has heard enough about that.